Outlaw barkeep jailed 15 days for Valencia Club ownership hoax

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Travis Kevie, a homeless, bullriding cowboy who managed to bamboozle customers at Penryn’s Valencia Club for four days into believing he owned the bar, has been sentenced to 15 days in jail for selling alcohol without a license. Kevie’s hoax lasted until his arrest July 20 on burglary and illegal alcohol sales charges. Kevie, 29, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of illegal liquor sales and was ordered to pay a $160 fine along with the jail time. The burglary charge had earlier been dropped. Judge Joseph O’Flaherty also is requiring Kevie to stay away from the Valencia Club unless lawfully employed there. Kevie’s improbable move to re-open the Valencia Club started on a Friday with a six-pack of beer he bought with his own money at a convenience store across the street. The bar, closed since early June, had been a local landmark since the 1930s and locals were thirsty for its reopening. Deputies said Kevie put an open sign out and averaged 30 customers a day over four days. A story about Kevie – who was quoted as saying the bar opening was “a dream come true” – appeared that Tuesday in the Auburn Journal. Kevie’s claims to be a winning bullrider who grew up in Newcastle proved true but a detective who knew him as a recent transient in and around Auburn was soon at the club to question and then arrest the outlaw barkeeper. Kevie’s story was picked up by regional and national news outlets. Many focused on a homeless man’s initiative to make money in what had been a closed business. The Sheriff’s Office said a large amount of alcohol and cash was confiscated at the Valencia Club after Kevie’s arrest. Others chose to dwell on Kevie’s sheer bravado to pull the ruse off over the length of time he did. Len Travis, property manager for the Valencia Club, said that while he wouldn’t be in a position to offer Kevie a job at the bar, there has been talk that his presence at the club when it reopens might be a plus some day. “A number of people have said he shined the spotlight on it and maybe there should be a place for him down the line,” Travis said. Travis said that an agreement is nearing completion on a new owner for the club but could give no further details until final papers are signed. The impact of Kevie’s story on so many people is a testament to how many want to see the Taylor Road bar open again, he said. Kevie appeared in court last Wednesday and was ordered to appear at the Placer County Jail Oct. 19 to serve his sentence.